There have been multiple recent sightings of the mythical 'Google Phone' and late last week an official announcement confirmed the existence of 'a device that combines innovative hardware from a partner with software that runs on Android'. Google employees are conducting internal user testing in a process that Google calls 'dogfooding' (probably without counsel of the PR Dept). Details are scarce but The Inquisitr published a good picture of the device and Information Week went through the FCC filings to separate truth vs hype. Neowin was able to outline the feature set through some leaked specs.
The emerging details are of a device that looks like an iPhone with greater screen resolution and trackball navigation. Strategically it seems part of a Google meme of reaching users with as much control as possible along every step of the process (this morning Techrunch reported on a possible Google netbook). The phone is rumored to carrier agnostic and fully unlocked, a concept that was debunked for technical reasons by Sascha Segan and many bloggers wondered if the handset could be economically feasible without a carrier subsidy. Reuters reported that there would be both a T-Mobile supported version and an unlocked version.
Other possible problems in the business model have been identified. Developers are gravitating away from Android and back to iPhone according to Information Week, lured by the more heavily standardized platform and a better ecommerce system than Google Checkout can currently offer. PC World's David Coursey also wondered if open source could be a mixed blessing for businesses wanting a highly reliable communication system. So as 2009 ends, an interesting battle for mobile marketing dominance in 2010 may be exactly what is next.